Welcome to our ‘Places to Visit Blog Hop!’
Myself, Dear Bear and Beany, Five Little Doves, Meme and Harri, Hot Pink Wellingtons and Double the Monkey Business are joining forces to bring you all there is to offer from our various corners of the globe. If you’re local to us, thinking of visiting somewhere on a holiday or day out or you just want to have a read, scroll down to the bottom of this post to find out what the other ladies have to say about their neck of the woods!
So, without further ado, pack your virtual suitcases (don’t forget the Gin and chocolate) and let’s go!
I love living in Surrey (despite how chuffing expensive it is) and I feel really lucky that we live in an area that offers so much. We can be in central London within 25 minutes on the train, we are only an hours drive from the coast and we also have a wonderful abundance of beautiful counties that neighbour us (Hampshire, Berkshire, Sussex and Kent). With all that in mind however, it is important to remember what is on our own doorstep so here are my;
Top 10 places to visit in Surrey.
My lovely blogging friend Katy from Hot Pink Wellington’s also resides in leafy Surrey and her Blog Hop post will feature the Top 10 Gardens to visit in Surrey so head on over there using the badge at the bottom to check out her post for those!
1. Guildford Castle
The presumed time of Guildford castle’s creation was shortly after 1066. Guildford was, at that time, the only town in Surrey. Guildford was a key staging point on the main route from London to the south coast so it was the obvious place in which to build a castle designed to remind the local Saxons that they were now under Norman control.
It almost certainly started out as a wooden tower, but by the beginning of the 12th century there were chalk walls instead of wood. By the late 1130’s the present castle was taking shape in the form of a classical great tower, built of Bargate stone which was quarried in Godalming. The tower was divided into two floors, featuring latrines, a chapel, and a Great Hall, with a lead roof and exterior walls coated in plaster and whitewash.
By the end of the 13th century the castle had been so improved by Henry III that it merited the title of ‘palace’.
A succession of kings, queens and barons continued to occupy the castle until if fell into disuse in the late 14th century, whereupon it commenced a less glamorous career as a private residence and as a cockpit.
Finally, in 1886 it came into the possession of Guildford Council. The Great Tower was restored and the surrounding land was laid out as pleasure gardens.
More recently, in 2003, a new roof and floor were re-instated and a permanent visitor centre was established on the first floor.
The grounds include beautifully manicured flower beds, fish ponds, a bowling green and several memorials and statues. In Summer, there is an open air theatre which is lovely to go and enjoy on a warm evening. The paths are well surfaced and plenty of park benches are around.
The first floor of the castle includes a visitor centre and exhibits including a model depicting how the castle would have looked in the 13th century. There are also panels charting the castle’s history from its beginnings to the present day.
Visitors willing to climb to the castle roof can obtain stunning panoramic views across Guildford and the surrounding countryside from a safe visitor platform.
There is a small gift shop on site.
There is nowhere to buy food on site but Guildford is a bustling market town full of amazing places to eat so you certainly won’t be left hungry!
It’s a lovely place to visit with the children and the grounds are simply stunning. There are little nooks and crannies to explore and entry to just the gardens is free.
For opening times, entry costs and more information, go to the Guildford Castle website.
Postcode: GU1 3TU
Important Note: There are access issues for disabled guests and pushchairs due to narrow staircases and the steep mount on which the castle was built.
2. Bocketts Farm Park
This is a wonderful place to take the kids (and Grandparents!) for a day out.
Bocketts Farm, Leatherhead, is a working farm which is full of things to do! You can have a full day out here for a very reasonable amount of money. The animals are all happy, healthy and well cared for and it’s a wonderful way to teach your little ones about farm life, farming and where our food comes from.
We have been a few times and the children never tire of it.
Pig racing (come on Bradley Piggins!), an indoor soft play, a petting corner, feeding animals, playgrounds, air cushions to jump on, a giant sandpit, tractor and trailer tours of the farm and much more await should you choose to visit.
There are places to buy refreshments but you’re also allowed to take a picnic if you wish.
To find out more information, go to the Bocketts Farm website.
Postcode: KT22 9BS
3. Hampton Court Palace
This utterly magnificent palace is famous worldwide as being the home of the infamous, Henry III.
A wonderfully preserved example of a British Palace, which still has got a working kitchen and enormous amount of original features. You can learn all about Tudor life, find out about the history of the British Monarchy, walk around the stunningly beautiful gardens, get lost in the maze, take a guided tour or, in Winter, have a go on the pop-up ice rink which appears.
There are various events on all year round so do check their website for any upcoming ones.
Set in a stunning location, next to the river, you can have a full day out here and in the surrounding area.
There is a gift shop, toilet and changing facilities and places to buy refreshments.
You can find entry fees and more information on the Hampton Court Palace website.
Postcode: KT8 9AU
Important: Due to the age and nature of the building, some areas are not suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
4. Silent Pool and Silent Pool Distillery
I can’t do a places to visit post without giving a mention to my beloved local Gin distillery, Silent Pool.
Nestled in Albury, in the Surrey Hills, this place is mysterious, eerie, quaint, and (most importantly) full of Gin for you to purchase!
There are also a number of lovely walks you can do in the immediate vicinity of the distillery, going to see Silent Pool itself is a must, so make a day of it and go have an explore!
I have written a post about the distillery here if you wish to learn more or have a peek. It’s full of recipe and cocktail ideas too!
You can buy their delicious Gin or find out more about them by visiting their website.
Postcode: GU5 9BW
5. Brooklands Museum
Part of British Motorsport history, Brooklands Museum is a fantastic place to take any transport mad children or family members. See old racing cars, sit on concord, marvel at wonderous feats of engineering and reminisce about days gone by.
Set in the shadow of part of the remaining Brooklands Race track (which is said to be haunted!) in Weybridge, Surrey, this museum has something to offer everyone.
There are various events on throughout the year suitable for all the family, or hardened car enthusiasts, which you can read more about on their website.
There is a cafe there with toilet facilities and a gift shop too so you can take a memento of your trip home with you.
Nearby there is a M&S and a Tesco should you require their services.
Postcode: KT13 0SL
6. Runnymede Magna Carta Memorial & Ankerwycke
The Magna Carta (the Great Charter) was a very important document written up by feudal barons and signed by King John in order to ensure that, despite being King, that King John couldn’t abuse his power and to ensure the people of the land had rights and signalled the beginnings of our legal system.
There is a memorial in a nearby spot to mark the significance of this document and it’s importance to our country.
There are many wonderful walks around this area and it’s a lovely place for a picnic and just enjoying the outdoors together.
Nearby Ankerwycke is also a super place to investigate. The Ankerwycke yew tree is thought to be over 2500 years old and is near the broken remains of St Mary’s Priory which is a wonderful place to walk around and explore. It is thought that the Yew tree was the spot upon which the Magna Carta was signed by King John in 1215. It is also said that Henry III met Anne Boleyn in Ankerwycke in the 1530’s. The area has always been of great importance with regards to our monarchy and the laws of our land.
Postcode: TW19 5AG
7. Waverley Abbey and Farnham
Waverley Abbey in Farnham, Surrey, was the very first monastery founded in Britain by the reforming Cistercian religious order. A small group of monks from France settled in this quiet spot by the River Wey in 1128, and Waverley soon became the springboard for Cistercian settlement in southern England. The impressive remains include the fine 13th century vaulted refectory or dining hall for the lay brothers, also known as the Cistercians’ labour force.
The ruins are a great place for curious minds to explore and entry is free.
The Abbey was used in Disney’s film, “Into the Woods” and as a backdrop in the 1998 version of, “Elizabeth”.
Nearby Farnham is a beautiful town to visit. Full of character, independent (as well as high street) shops and history around every corner. There are plenty of places to eat in Farnham so be sure to stop and have a look around. You will also find the remains of Farnham Castle Keep nearby which is another superb place to explore.
You can find walks around the area and more information about Waverley Abbey on the English Heritage website.
Postcode: GU9 8EP
8. Abinger Hammer Village Green
A bit of a random one at first sight perhaps, but when I explain you’ll see why it makes for such a super day out.
Abinger Hammer is a small village in the Surrey Hills. Quaint, full of character and a picture postcard English Village.
The village green is home to a large green space, a children’s park (which was actually closed when we visited in August 2016 for repairs) and a river which cuts across the village green boundary.
The perk of this place is that the river, in Summer with little rain, is shallow and gentle enough to paddle in. The river bed is very rocky so I would recommend wearing crocs, or some other type of water appropriate shoes, but it is perfect to cool down in on a warm day.
If you take your fishing nets, some buckets and a magnifying glass, you can do some fishing or ‘pond dipping’ to see what you can catch!
The village post office, opposite the green, sells drinks and snack as well as fishing nets and buckets should you require them. There is also a dainty, traditional tea room connected to it should you require the essential sustenance of tea and cake!
Parking can be tricky, but I parked at the local village hall 2 minutes up the road as it wasn’t in use at the time and my vehicle seemed to be ok in there. There is also a car park for the local cricket club on the green which is available to park in.
A completely free, best of british day out in the most picturesque of settings, should you take a picnic with you.
What more could you ask for?
Postcode: RH5 6QX
9. Albury Vineyard
Right next door to Silent Pool Distillery, you will find Albury Vineyard. This is a beautiful spot next to Silent Pool and it’s walks and it’s the perfect spot to sample some english wine at it’s very best. The chalky soil and plunging, sheltered hills of the area make for great grape growing and therefore, wonderful wine!
Walk up to the estate, say hello, throw down one of their picnic blankets or sit at a picnic table and ask to sample some of their wares whilst you take in the stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
You can book tours and tastings (perfect for some Mummy/Daddy time or as a gift for a wine lover) and you can purchase their produce, so you can take it take home with you, on site.
Children are welcome which is brilliant.
You can find out more about Albury Vineyard here.
(Teaming this up with a visit to Silent Pool distillery is literally living the dream!)
Postcode: GU5 9BW
10. Leith Hill
Again, back in the Surrey Hills, but it is so beautiful there it’s hard not to love it.
Leith Hill, the second highest point in South-east England, is my favourite place to go with the family. The views are second to none, on a clear day you can see the city of London sprawling out in front of you and it’s a view I think you’d never get bored of seeing.
There is a tower, built in 1765, there which you can go in and climb to the top (WARNING: not for those who aren’t able bodied, scared of heights or claustrophobic!) and the view from up there is simply breathtaking. There is a small fee to go up the tower to help maintain it.
The area has a fascintating history which you can read more about here. Charles Darwin is known to have conducted some of his studies in and around here as his friends owned the nearby Leith Hill Place and he used to go and stay there quite often. Also of note, the composer Vaughn-Williams lived here until 1944 and then gave it to the National Trust so everyone could enjoy it. I am glad he did. It’s truly stunning.
Take a picnic, go for a walk, sit and admire the view, get lost in the woods, take in a sunset, visit in the depths of winter. Whenever you visit, you won’t be disappointed.
There are no toilet facilities but there is a refreshment hut at the bottom of the tower serving hot and cold drinks and food.
There are various car parks available nearby, some of which are free of charge.
Postcode: RH5 6LU
I hope you enjoyed my suggestions and I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed should you choose to visit some of them.
See what my lovely chums have on offer near them by clicking the badges below.